1-2-3-4 in Spain, gold in Great Britain
Blues dominate Spanish Time Trials Championships as Basque allrounder comes before Castroviejo (silver), Valverde (bronze) and Herrada (4th); Blues up to 28 wins in 2016 folliwing record-setting fifth victory in Britush TT for Dowsett
Just like in the previous two editions of the race, the Movistar Team made a clean sweet of the Spanish TT Championships' podium, repeting -though in a different order- the same one that reigned two years ago in Ponferrada. Ion Izagirre put an icing on top of the best season he's completed as a pro with a stunning display in a tough, warm course in Ibi, near Alicante (40.95km), beating two big specialists and team-mates in the process: Jonathan Castroviejo (silver) and Alejandro Valverde (bronze).
After Jesús Herrada – 4th at the end – set the early reference within those riders starting just after 6pm, a very close duel between Valverde, Izagirre and Castroviejo started to form after 21km: only seven seconds separated them, in that very order, at the intermediate check. Ultimately, the amazing fitness and good final pace by Ion got the better of his team-mates in the closing meters uphill -22” over ‘Castro’; 25” better against ‘Bala’-, Izagirre claiming his fourth success of the 2016 season -GP Indurain, TT wins in Romandie and the Tour de Suisse- and the Eusebio Unzué-led squad's 28th this year, with eleven different riders.
Ion Izagirre: "Following my victory in Suisse, I was really willing to come to this course and go for the win. I knew I could do well, but I was completely conscious that this was a different story from last week: quite longer, always demanding – you had to stay calm and distribute your energies well during the course. The work by the team with the time gaps was really good – I was having information all the time, knowing that 'Castro', 'Bala' and me were doing pretty equal. Once we got over the Revoltes climb and coming into the final 6, 7 kilometers, I took my gamble: giving 100% without knowing if it would be a win or a silver medal. Fortunately, it all went well.
"I've got that feeling that this one really is my best season in the pro scene. Ever since the start of the year, I got to keep this regularity over all courses, doing well no matter the terrain. That makes you incredibly confident and gives you a reason to keep working hard, so you can keep success coming. Canyon's new bike has been completely satisfying: the new materials are really good, which is amazing considering the amounts of work they have always put to bring us the best quality. Claiming wins from the first race with this Speedmax has been a result of that. Now TDF and the Games, you say? Well', one would have to ask Eusebio and Javier Mínguez [Spain's national team coach]; I'd like to ride both of them, but it's their choice."
Dowsett claims record-setting fifth title in GB
At the same time the Ibi TT was ridden, Alex Dowsett claimed a fantastic fifth British TT title in Stockton-on-Tees, becoming the first-ever rider to go past Stuart Dangerfield's record of four victories. The 46.4km course was the path for another exhibition by the Essex rider (55:38.523), coming 1'16" faster across the line than James Gullen (silver), with Ryan Perry in bronze medal position. It's the Great Baddow rider's fourth consecutive champion jersey in Movistar Team colours, having kept this success line since 2013.
Alex Dowsett: "Win number five is as special as the first. I get to wear this for another year. It saves Endura making another one or a blue one. It's always special. It's nice that I didn't have any problems this year, every year the nationals seems to throw something at me but that went very smoothly, fantastic course. Stockton should be very proud of what they put on today, very spectator friendly and this is what time trials need".